Sunday, June 19, 2005

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How To Give A Good Religious Lecture

Combine your quoting of religious sources with examples of secular common sense. When I hear a lecture that is purely based on religious sources, it usually feels artificial to me. God gaves us common sense. Preachers should cite examples of it in addition to quoting sacred text.

The same God created the laws of physics as well as the moral law. Speak to all of me, not just my knowledge of the Bible.

What I Love About You

One of the few things I like about writing (and listening to Air Supply) is control. I control the words that appear on this website. Nobody else does (except for lawyers, web servers, and a handful of friends).

When the rest of my life falls apart, when I'm thrown out of shuls, appall my family, lose friends, get stood up on dates, bounce checks, don't get paid, receive letters from the IRS, have stories killed at the last minute by a publisher, when, in short, I confront concrete evidence that my life is slipping away without my having accomplished what I most wanted, I can still blog.

I imagine most people spend Saturday night in a meaningful way -- going to dinner, catching a movie, renewing their marital affection, etc. I usually stay home and blog.

Nothing drives me to blog like anger, frustration and loss, those haunting emotions that remind me things weren't supposed to turn out this way.

I suppose that everyone gets stood up on dates, but somehow I feel that this happens more often to me.

Denise Bernard was the girl I loved during my early adolescence. She was the first girl I asked out on a date -- the San Francisco Giants first game (a loss to the Houston Astros) after baseball's 1981 strike. I wore mismatched socks and spent most of the time making bets with a male friend.

The next two times I asked her out she said she had to go to a horse show.

I never asked her out again.

Sometimes I get stood up without an explanation. In 1995, one woman agreed to meet me at the theater on Fairfax and Beverly to see Casino. She never showed nor returned my calls.

I hated that film.

Not that I still remember.

Perhaps some of my lack of success with women is due to my predisposition to ask Jews and Gentiles to synagogue. I particularly like to ask shiksas to shul because it is so exotic to them and tends to rob them of their traditional defenses. After I invoke the Holocaust and the Crusades, I'm home free.

One shiksa I met at Friday Night Live. First date she stood me up. Said she had forgotten to write it down in her appointment book and later found out she had to work.

Our real first date was to a Lag B'Omer party at Chabad followed by a wild karaoke party in Hollywood. Second date was to hear a lecture by a rabid feminist on Shuvuot.

Third date was to a shul Shabbos morning and lunch at friend's. But just as she was driving up, she got a call about a family emergency.

Khunrum writes: "I hope that didn't stop you from acting the "shnorer" and chowing down on some free grub yourself."

Not at all. We had a huge kiddish at shul. I had four helpings of dessert and some fruit for the sake of my conscience. Then I walked a couple of miles to lunch with friends who included a Vietnamese-American who was a former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader, model and professional boxer who's converting to Orthodox Judaism.

Nina's just the second pro football cheerleader I've met who's converting to God's True Religion.

Fourth date was supposed to be to a memorial lecture on Father's Day. I figure that nothing says "I love you" like a Torah drash.

Some people memorialize a loved one by lifting a glass. Other people blog. Still others learn Torah.

I eat several heapings of dessert.

I decide to skip West Hollywood's Gay Pride Parade this year. Just not in the mood.

The Reason I Can't Spend Money On Dates

Jackie suggests: "Just say that you've pledged to donate all income you don't spend on the bare necessities to save Africa. Anyone who tries to take issue with that cannot do so without looking like a jerk. You can also say that's why you live in the hovel and drive your van, so you have as much money as possible to donate to saving Africa."

War Declared On Hustler Editor Bruce David

Tiger Lilly writes:

Greetings. This is to announce that Hustler's 'Declaration of War' has been answered.

We are a group of women and men, both presently and formerly employed by Larry Flynt Publications, who can no longer tolerate the sick and violent direction that Bruce David has driven the magazine.

As Editorial Director of Larry Flynt Publications and Hustler magazine's self-styled resident tough guy, Bruce David used the February 2004 issue (apparently still on stands) to eviscerate a group of feminist critics of porn's violent edge. As Editorial Director, it is Bruce David who guides the magazine's direction, and he brags openly that he writes Larry Flynt's 'Publisher's Statement' in each issue since, according to Bruce David, "Liz Flynt keeps Larry too loaded on Lithium to write his own name."

Targeting Aura Bogado and Diana Russell in particular, Bruce David ordered a three-page pictorial of women tied to the bumpers of trucks and being dragged behind farm equipment. This is not surprising, as Bruce David's tenure at Hustler has been marked by an extreme fascination with violence against women in particular, which explains its plummeting circulation and loss of newsstands across the nation. A magazine that once celebrated women sexually in a healthy manner has been handed over to Bruce David, who feels women being dragged behind tractors with tools shoved into their mouths is "hot."

As alarming as his penchant for supporting the brutalization of women is, it pales compared to Bruce David's sick use of children in the magazine. Bruce David featured his own pre-teen boys in a Hustler Ad parody in the 2003 Holiday issue. This creep put his own children in a magazine that is loaded with pedophile-friendly ads that boast "My Parents Aren't Home, Give It To Me Quick" and "Is This Where You Put It?" and others that pander to freaks into children. Bruce David has vowed more children will be depicted in the magazine.

Consequently, we are providing Aura Bogado, Diana Russell and a cadre of young, motivated and highly sophisticated women with a full dossier on Bruce David, including pertinent background information, current data, photos and other relevant material.

Additionally, a public awareness and education campaign is being planned for residents in Bruce David's...neighborhood, who need to protect their own children.

Bruce David has declared war, and it is war that he shall have. His tough guy swagger may play well in the pages of Hustler, at home with his terrified family and among the Flynt employees who cower in the face of his thug bullying, but lets see how it plays in the face of public scrutiny.

This is just the beginning.

It is all for The Front! All for Victory!

Jane writes: "When did "Hustler" ever 'celebrate women sexually'? That is the same magazine that once had a cover of a woman going head first, legs sticking out, of the top of a meat grinder, and that issue was in [1978]."

Luke's Dating Plans

Khunrum writes:

Memorial "lecture"? Sounds like barrels of fun. On a par with folk dancing. At least everything you've mentioned so far seems to be gratis, you haven't spent a dime. Well done, keep your baht in your pocket while you hunt the elusive... Refresh our memories Luke. Who is this young lady? Is it the Asian who converted to Judaism? Inquiring committee members want to know.

Helpful writes:

Cynics have pointed out that both Cruise and Holmes have major summer blockbusters on deck and publicity is publicity, but everyone seems to forget the real point - Tom Cruise is [allegedly] gay. Katie Holmes is only his latest "beard." Most celebrities bristle when asked about their private life but Cruise keeps sticking in everyone's face. They've been dating 7 weeks and their engaged? Come on.

Huh, what happened to the German uber-vixen? Did you cry "antisemitism" when she refuse to [study Torah with] you?

Memo to Rob Spallone: "Lost In Your Eyes" would make a great buk... video title.

Some of My Keen Observations

My varied life brings me into contact with a broad spectrum of humanity, as I meld my Christian upbringing's emphasis on evangelical deeds with my current Jewish beliefs in attempting to bring the Good News of the Oral Law to the ignorant of the world. And in that capacity of true cosmopolitan, I've made enough observations to warrant the following generalizations:

1. Lesbians are not as attractive as heterosexual women. Yes, I know that there are exceptions, but in the main this is true.

2. People who are into really weird, kinky stuff are not as hot looking as those who are into more mainstream activities. BDSM folks especially, don't have it going on.

3. Most people wish they were white, especially the kind of white that is naturally blonde and tall. Witness all the people of color who die their hair blonde.

4. American Jews are not as attractive a race as Northern Europeans or Israelis. American Jewish women eat too much for their own good. (As do American Christian women, for that matter.)

5. Black people have an easier time of keeping time to music than do white men.

6. Most Arabs and Muslims do not treasure Israel as much as the Zionist lobby expects us all to.

7. Feminists are usually pretty miserable.

8. Women who own cats do so because they cannot find and hold onto a man.

9. Career gals are usually especially miserable; what they want is a man and family, not a career.

10. Most good sex is had by a minority of men, who monopolize the best women. We may not have legal polygamy in this country, but in fact, we do have informal polygamy, which disadvantages lower status men like me.

That's all for now. Have I left anything out?

'Regarding Mike Albo's Website'

LFP Editorial Director Bruce David (he once asked Cathy Seipp to write for him but she refused) emails Lyn Heller (LFP Human Resources Department) July 26, 2004:

This morning Mike Albo updated his site to announce the firing of Mike Allen at LFP. In addition, he continues his malicious and mendacious attacks against me, selected members of my staff and, as of today, my wife. These attacks are disruptive to my operation, undercut my authority, erode morale and drain my time as I am forced to deal with issues that should be not part and parcel of running a national publication. I am at a loss to understand why the company does not feel it should aggressively protect its own good name but it is crucial to me that the company protect me and my staff from attacks that clearly originate from within the company.

My personal belief is that we should pay special attention to two sources of leaks within the company: First, the clique composed of Lisa Jenio, Matt Brand, Alaina Fiorante and Kevin Wright. Second, Sean Carney. In the first case, the likely flow of information is Matt to Lisa to MacDonnell. In the second, the likely flow is Carney to Kapelovitz to MacDonnell and or Albo.

Thus, I am once again asking the company to launch a full investigation into this matter.

The investigation should include:

1. Sit-down interviews with all relevant parties. They should be warned that lying will be grounds for termination, then asked, at a minimum, the two following questions: "Did you contact Mike Albo and or Allan MacDonnell to communicate gossip or proprietary information?" "Do you know who did?"

2. The phone records of all parties should be reviewed to see who may have called Mike Albo and or Allan MacDonnell.

3. The computers of all parties should be examined to see who may have emailed Mike Albo and or Allan MacDonnell.

Anyone caught lying or anyone who admits passing on such information after the Friday meeting warning about such communication, should be terminated.

Friday Night Live Adventures Of Emily And Melanie

I met these publicists (crisis management consultants) at Friday Night Live (Temple Sinai) a few months ago.

My not so secret belief is that publicist equals paid liar.

I don't think they were impressed with me.

Anyway, time heals such wounds, and we're now happy as Larry via the internet (in person there's that icky sexual tension).

Melanie writes me June 17:

I don't know if you noticed, but when Emily and I called out your name with our "I love you Luke" expressions -- we immediately had stares from everyone around us wanting to know who you were. So you can thank us for your celebrity status that night.

Some interesting guys that come through that rapid networking--more commonly known as speed dating--event. Emily and I usually get bored and start talking to eachother during the program, or I will hear something her guy says and jump in the conversation or vice versa. Not sure why the guys we always get sat with have less than nothing to say...

I got one guy who I recognized from jdate, actually this kid that I thought I might enjoy talking to. We emailed on jdate quite a few months ago a few times on our personal accounts and when I saw him in temple for the first time a few months ago I recognized him, looking vaguely like his picture, but the picture was definitely a one that made him much much more attractive.

I am not trying to be mean, but in person he was a totally different person! Observing him in the kiddush room, I realized he was for sure not the one I was expecting...

So we had stopped talking on jdate and not until last Friday did I see him again (this was months after the jdate thing) and lucky for me he sat down during the rapid networking...ugh i thought..so i told him my name was Emily (nudging Emily to tell her not to say anything) had next to nothing to talk to him about, I mean he was nice, just didnt grab me at all, and that's important nowadays.

So at the end of the few minutes I guess he thought we hit it off and asked for my card. I told him I didn't have one and so he gave me his. He asked for my phone number and I said, well, ummm....I guess, hoping that he would take that as a hint of I am not interested.

The networking was over and I was looking for a way out so I wouldn't have to give him my number and he just stood there. I actually started walking away and he followed me. I stood next to some other guy and he waited behind me! And when I turned around to leave again he was there and asked for my number again. He said, do you have a pen?

I told him you werent allowed to write on Shabbat. I was trying to help the kid out! He wasnt getting it! So he took out his cell phone and I gave him my home number which I never ever answer -- I know I probably should have said no, but I felt bad. and I told him my name was emily again. Well long story short (sorry this is dragging) he called my home number, which says "you have reached Melanie," so I guess he figured out I was really Melanie, left me a message, found my old email correspondence and emailed me there, and emailed me on jdate. Persistent guy..still not interested.

I have this theory about a good way to gauge whether or not a woman is interested in you. If she asks more than pro forma questions of you, that means she's interested.

Lost In Your Eyes - Number Two With A Bullet

Debbie Gibson has moved into the number two slot in my heart (after Air Supply, I don't own any of her music). And this feeling has nothing to do with her recent pictorial in Playboy.

What's Most Important In A Relationship Is Common Values

I met a woman who's been to 200 Air Supply concerts. She invited me to one on a Friday night. I replied that my Sabbath observance (Judaism) would not permit me to attend.

She replied:

My last boyfriend was Jewish, by blood but not a practicing Jew by religion. Your Australian what are you doing practicing the Jewish faith. Those traditions were done away with in the new testament. I am extremely familiar with Jew faith and such I have been raised Missionary Baptist we study the Old and New testaments and all. As far as I've been taught if your not Jewish by blood well your Gentile. But even the Jews are not supposed to live by the old traditions anymore. They just rejected the new testament and still don't have it right. Well there are some Jewish people that have accepted the New Testament teachings and have converted to Baptist. Well just a Baptists eye point of view.

I reply: "That's truly precious. You're very funny."

Ummmm, ok how is a view on religion funny? It's the truth, I believe it whole heartedly. The law was done away with at the crucifiction. Religion actually is quite simple, fairly black and white, it's just idiot human nature that makes it confusing. Just because the Jews were the "choosen" people doesn't mean they are better or worse than Gentiles. Both groups of people are under the same laws now, and have been for hundreds or thousands of years whichever. Yes, there are those that go to far on both ends but all that really needs to be remembered is Nobody is perfect just forgiven or not forgiven.

David Scott writes: "I dunno, man. A girl who’s been to 200 Air Supply concerts is gonna be hard to find again… Maybe you can work something out."

Forbidden Sex

I subscribe to the Yahoo group Frum Sex. ("Frum" is a Hebrew word that means religious aka Orthodox.) I wish I didn't, but better to subscribe than burn with curiosity.

I do admit it would be better for me to wait until marriage to learn about such matters.

I've been studying what Jewish law says about men and women swimming together. It's definitely forbidden. I'm glad I don't do it.

I've also been studying what Judaism says about oral and anal sex. It's a touchy subject and I really don't think it is appropriate for public discussion, so I'm going to stop right here.

There is a machlokes the Rambam and the Raavad whether a man is allowed to do oral sex on a woman, the Shulchan Aruch paskens like the Raavad that it is prohibited.

I side with the Raavad.

In today's sex-crazed and sex-filled world the yetzer hara for sex and especially oral sex has reached unprecedented heights. There are two approaches to this.

1. We need to pull back even further.

2. We need to allow people to do what is permitted so that they don't do worse aveiros.

Both are legitimate approaches and depend greatly on the person and where he is holding. but there are on who to rely on L'Hatir!

I rely on L'Hatir. (Who's that?)

A friend writes: "I think by L’Hatir he means to permit (shouldn’t have been capitalized), like Heiter."

Then I don't hold by it. I'm too strict. The mechitza (partition between men and women in Orthodox shuls) can never get too high for my tastes.

Anonymous writes:

Gosh, I'm not married so I can't have a fully informed opinion. However, it seems to me that oral sex etc. is simply disgusting. Yes, I also watch porn etc. and enjoy it. However, when I'm in my right mind, I can't imagine me doing what I see in those movies and pictures. It just doesn't seem very proper or holy to me. And I would be scared to death to let my wife know that I enjoy watching such things. If Torah recognized the concept of fun sex, then how come the room has to be dark and how come she can't be on top?

I don't think the type of sexual practices discussed here is consistent with the rest of Judaism. In short, it's not modest or eidel. If such things were allowed then slutty dressing should be allowed too but we all know how strict the laws of modest dressing are. I just don't think such behaviors of the bedroom are consistent with the rest of Jewish life.

The Meaningful Life

My friend Tony is an inner-city English teacher. I had a chance to talk to him just before Shavuot.

He's upset that major studios don't put more "niggers" in their movies. When he's raised this matter with them in his trademark polite and respectful style, he's gotten no love.

Luke: "Any drama in your life?"

Tony: "S---, man, there's drama every day in my life. My bitch is getting on my nerves."

Luke: "What is she doing to get on your nerves?"

Tony: "Bulls---, man. The stuff that females do. The s--- that they don't do. I've been with her for like a year-and-a-half."

Luke: "Is she ok with you being in the literacy industry?"

Tony: "No, man, she's as jealous as s---. You know how that s--- can be."

Luke: "Are you going to give up the industry for her?"

Tony: "Hell no. I got rid of my last bitch for this s---. You know what I'm saying? I'm just going to do my thing. This is for me. It's hard to be in a relationship and do this type of work. She's mad right now that I'm at the Literacy Expo and she's not with me. I'm like, you can't rag behind me. I've got bitches up here that I can f---, you know what I'm saying? Grab me and rub on me and kiss me and s---. It's just part of being in the industry. That love that you get. This bitch cussed me out."

Luke: "What did she say exactly?"

Tony: "That I'm going up there to cheat. I'll find out that the bitch has been cheating on me. I'll throw it in her face. If she can keep the s--- real with me, I will always give a f---.

"When I throw the s--- in her face, she'll throw it back in my face. It's hard, man."

Luke: "Where did you grow up in LA?"

Tony: "In the Crenshaw - Slausson area. You know what I'm saying? It's stereotyped as the hood. But it's a community, you know what I'm saying? Where all kind of people live, black, white, Hispanic, Chinese, even a couple of Korean motherf------ live over there, you know what I'm saying?

"I went to Crenshaw High School."

Luke: "What kind of crowd did you hang out with?"

Tony: "Aw, s---, come on, man. You know who I hung around with. Gangsters. Drug dealers. My dad got killed when I was seven and s---."

Luke: "How did he get killed?"

Tony: "A f------ drug shoot-out."

Luke: "Was he a dealer?"

Tony: "Yeah, he was a drug dealer. The s--- went bad and they popped him.

"I was young enough to understand what happened. I grew up gangbanging. My mom was in-and-out of the penitentiary most of my life. For different s---. My mom had all kinds of priors. S--- I can't even say over the air right now."

Luke: "So, who raised you?"

Tony: "My grandma raised me. She's resting right now."

He opens his wallet and shows me a picture of himself as a kid with his grandma.

Alex writes: "You really do not 'know' a piece of Gemara until you can explain it to someone at a cocktail party. As you review, or as you are sitting in class, ask yourself how you would explain the Gemara you are learning to a friend who has never learned it before. If you can do that, you are on your way."

I Wanted To Blog...

But my better judgment prevented me.

I was tossing and turning on my floor about 2am one day and felt driven to blog about all the lies I tell myself and others but my better judgment prevented me. I could just imagine it being read out in court in some future libel suit.

I wanted to blog about this old couple I saw in synagogue. I ignored them as I ignore most people.

Why do I ignore most people in certain synagogues? The answer is too painful to reveal. Suffice to say, I restrict myself these days.

Anyway, I thought this old couple was just another old couple. I came to find out that they were distinguished scholars in residence.

I kick myself for not going up to them and enjoying a few minutes of spirited conversation. I can be charming for a few minutes.

I thought the Mrs. was a radical feminist, but in her lecture I detected a gleam in her eye, which indicated a sense of humor utterly missing from her latest book. Her lecture on Rav Kook and the place of doubt in religious belief was an elevated topic, and while her voice was not strong, her content was clear.

A friend gave me a hard time for attending because I had panned her book. But he fell asleep during her lecture, as did several other sensitive feminist types, while I, the model of Neanderthal Aussie masculinity, paid attention to every word.

I got a kick out of how she dismissed out of hand a question posed by the rabbi of the shul. She cut him off before he could finish his first sentence. Later she realized and acknowledged that she had responded to a question he was not asking.

She didn't suffer fools gladly, and when various professors made flowery statements, she kept her response to a sentence or two and moved on.

She took into account the low level of Hebrew literacy of her audience.

The next day I heard her husband discourse on some abstruse point about the different way the Rambam and the Ramban viewed the commandments found in the Written Torah (Pentateuch) versus the Oral Torah (Mishnah). Hubby took no note of his audience. He just barreled ahead in a beautiful Oxford accent with stuff that would only be of interest to a minority of graduate students in this particular area. Everything he said that I understood (about 60% of the lecture) I, and any knowledgeable Jew, already knew. The rest was academic and not particularly important for the average Jew to know.

I wonder if female speakers are more likely to take into account their audience. Men are more prone to barge ahead.

Tuesday night, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta was the guest of the Society of Professional Journalists. I asked him if he ever learned anything from baseball writers. He said not really. When I pressed him to name baseball writers he respected, he named Gammons at ESPN and a bloke from the New York Post and several bloggers.

Kevin Roderick asked a couple of questions as did Matt Welch, who was already on to his third beer. By the time Matt hit four beers, I fled for Bible study class.

Stay in school, kids, and don't drink like Matt Welch.

Paul was the perfect organization man. He said nothing newsworthy. He was gracious. He pitched everything in perfect corporate words.

Some schmuck got stuck into Leslie Simmons, SPJ LA president, and made a jerk of himself with other people, including the help. And when I call someone obnoxious that means they're pretty bad. It can take a lot to create a good party but only one shmuck can ruin things.

Seraphic School Days

Robert J. Avrech writes:

Back in the 50's and 60's there were quite a few violent teachers in the Yeshiva of Flatbush. Mrs. Katz, a nasty piece of work, used to make us lay our hands palm up and she would take her wooden ruler and WHACK us with it. Mr. Zilber would take an eraser and throw it at us, usually aiming for our heads. Mr. Weinstein would grab us by the neck and squeeze until it felt like our neck was breaking. We thought that this was normal behavior. It was not until I was much older--actually not till I got to college and had the chance to speak to kids who went to public schools--that I learned how backward my Yeshiva was. I make no excuses for these people. None of them were traumatized Holocaust survivors. They were just a bunch of nasty creeps who hated children. How Yeshiva Flatbush ever got its stellar repution for excellence is something of a mystery. My years were positively Dickensian. I still have nightmares that I'm back on East 10th street.

Grief Counseling Useless

Prager referred to an article in the Daily Telegraph. DP thought it would depend on the individual. For some it would help, and for others it would be useless.

A WASP father calls in. His son committed suicide three years ago. He bemoaned the unacceptability of loud emotions in White Protestant life. He recently married an African-American woman and he appreciates how he can express his feelings around her family without people thinking he's crazy.

Dennis says he used to think that Jews were loud, then he realized that everyone (Greeks, Latinos etc) is loud but Protestants.

Grief counselling a waste of time, say psychologists

Bereavement counselling - long considered by psychologists to be vital in recovering from the death of a loved one - may be a waste of time, according to a new study.

The research challenges a belief that has been firmly held by psychoanalysts since Sigmund Freud proposed in 1917 that confronting feelings is the healthiest way to cope with bereavement.

Many psychoanalysts have even argued that failure to express grief indicates - or may lead to - deep psychological problems.

These days, bereavement counsellors often urge people to express their sadness in order to release "suppressed emotions". Now, however, a group of psychologists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who carried out their own research and reviewed that of others, has found no link between emotional expression of grief and a lessening of subsequent distress.

They assessed 128 recently bereaved people four times over two years and found no significant statistical difference between the continued distress in those who shared their emotions and those who did not.

The authors, Wolfgang Stroebe, Henk Schut and Margaret Stroebe, whose research is published this week in the Clinical Psychology Review, also challenged the view that it is beneficial for those who have suffered loss to "write about their very deepest thoughts and feelings".

The authors said: "The findings challenge beliefs about grief work, emotional disclosure and beneficial interventions that were considered as self-evident by bereavement researchers only a decade ago."

They claimed that counselling was more likely to benefit those with "complicated" grief - such as those whose loved ones suffered a particularly traumatic death.

They concluded that the most common difficulty suffered by bereaved people is emotional loneliness: the feeling of being utterly alone, even when in the company of friends and family. This type of loneliness, they say, only abates with time and nothing can be done to aid recovery.

The findings are supported by Dr Colin Murray Parkes, a consultant psychiatrist and the president of the charity Cruse Bereavement Care.

He said: "There is no evidence that all bereaved people will benefit from counselling, and research has shown no benefit to arise from the routine referral of people to counselling for no other reason than that they have suffered bereavement."

The Jewish Relationship To God

I've always wondered why so many Jews, including observant Jews, say they have no belief in God. Then I read this beautiful explanation in the novel Seek My Face by John Updike, a Gentile, in the words of his protagonist Hope Chafetz (a Gentile who married Jewish men but never converted to Judaism):

Or perhaps, if she is Jewish, she is unable to put the question of God quite the way a Christian would put it, in urgent terms of either/or. For the chosen people the relation has evolved beyond the possibility of dropped acquaintance into that of a familiarity that breeds contempt...

Yori Yanover writes:

An old gentile friend once said to me that Judaism was, basically, ancestor worship. At the time I took it to be a joke, but now that I'm getting on in years I see the notion of being someone's son and someone's father as the true driving force of our tradition. God is just a benign relative in this party which celebrates people. In fact, we're instructed to look for God in people and to immitate Him in our relationships with others.

So that the Torah isn't asking that you state your belief in God, because even if you did, who really cares? I do care that if I dropped this $10 bill you'll chase after me to return it, rather than pocket it. Then I'll know that you believe in God.

Lukeford.net's Quote Of The Year

"We had threesomes all the time. He felt uncomfortable wearing a yarmulke."

Jewish And Adorable.com

Leah is athletic in build, she is definitely the complete package. You will be pleasantly surprised by her elegance, grace and beauty.

Leah has an exceptional style of her own. Private and serene environment.

Leah@jewishandadorable.com calls me back at 3:07pm.

Luke: "Why do you advertise the Jewish angle?"

Leah: "Because I can. It goes over well. I am Jewish and I am adorable and I attract what I am. I attract safe and upscale people and I've been using it for a while."

Luke: "Is it important to a lot of men to be with a Jewish girl?"

Leah: "Absolutely. There are a lot of Jewish girls in this business, just a lot of them won't admit it. I put it out there and it's a fabulous marketing tool for me. I've had hobbyists email me and say I shouldn't put that out there. Take that down. And get angry.

"I don't listen to them because I know it works for me."

Luke: "How long have you been doing this?"

Leah: "About ten years. I was working as a massage therapist. I was massaging a 5'11 Jewish girl with short blonde hair, overweight. I said to her, what do you do? She said, I'm a hooker.

"I was shocked. Wow. She said, I make $10,000 a month. I said, wow. She said, you should think about doing this. I said, no, no, no. I could never do that. I'm a nice Jewish girl. I just like gifts.

"She said, that's funny. You'll never get them. You're better off doing it this way. Then you'll get more gifts.

"She said, here's my number if you change your mind.

"I worked as a cocktail waitress at the Marriott. It was hard. I could barely support myself. The bartender, a gay guy, said, 'Saturday is Leah's busy night off.' I quit. I was slaving ten hours a day and I couldn't get out for my auditions. And the guy was accusing me of working. And I've never done that in my life.

"I quit. I didn't know what to do. I called her, 'Carol, you probably don't remember me, but this is Leah, and I just quit my job and I don't know what to do, and I'm really upset.' She said, put on some lingerie and I'll send someone over in 30-minutes. I go, what do I do? She said, just smile and be nice.

"So I answered the door. It was a Jewish guy. He said, pulling on my lingerie, doesn't this come off? And I said, she didn't tell me that it does.

"He said, yeah, it comes off. I said, oh, ok.

"So, away that went. She sent me more. That's how I got started.

"Over the years that I've seen him, we've always laughed about it.

"I've become very friendly with my clients. They've become my friends. I go out to dinner with them.

"I do plan on getting married to someone who's Jewish and adorable. That's another reason I put it out there. It keeps me safe knowing that I am dealing with the same tribe. I don't want to have to lie to somebody. I want them to know that I'm trained.

"I know another girl who married her client. They've been married for 15-years. That's how they met. That's what I'm putting out there -- what I want back.

"I've met some great people who aren't Jewish, who I still see as well. This has been the most exciting vibrant time of my life.

"I'm in the music business. I play piano around town."

Luke: "Have you ever had a client who you knew previously?"

Leah: "They've come to the door and it was extremely embarrassing. I knew them socially at one of the big private clubs. I'm a native of California for almost 36-years. They came in. I said, you don't have to stay. They said no, you're adorable.

"Then I see them outside when I'm shopping or at a restaurant and I just put my head down and keep walking.

"I had a [famous] voice coach who didn't understand why I was so sexy. Why I was vibrating all this sex. He decided to go looking through the paper and he found me. Then he started stalking me for about four years."

I immediately know who she's talking about.

Luke: "He's not also a cantor?"

Leah gives the laugh of recognition. "Oh God, you're good. Yes. He gave me a hard time for four years. I was really scared. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't turn to my family.

"He was whacked out. He was always spying on me and showing up in different places dressed as different people. I really liked him but because he was married, I didn't want to get involved. If he would've just said, hey, let's do a trade, that would've been great.

"For three different places that I lived for those four years, he stalked me. I had three lines. One for an ad. One for the regulars. He had all three of them. He kept calling up. I said, ok, you must be really unhappy with your wife. He said, someone has fallen deeply in love with you and is devastated that you're a prostitute.

"I thought, what a mean, angry sonofabitch.

"I went in and faced him after that. He would keep teaching me but he was short and cold. But he kept taking my money. He'd say, come here, come close to the piano, and try to cop a feel.

"When I would attend Friday night service, he once stopped dead in his tracks and looked at me like you can't be here. And I looked back at him with my eyes and gave him a look like God allows anyone in His house and stayed for the service. I will walk into any temple I want."

Luke: "Did you guys ever have sex?"

Leah: "Never. I asked him that once. Did you come in dressed as a client? He said no. Who knows."

I say his name.

Leah: "Don't put his name in there. He'll come shoot me. He'll bother me again.

"He had access to the Phantom of the Opera and all the masks. He was plugged in with big people. He's a professional dead-ringer. I only knew him as a teacher, but I knew something was wrong. He has those big hands."

Luke: "He works with kids."

Leah: "I could see him dressing up as a dead-ringer and molesting kids. But he's been there many years and nobody has ever taken a stand to him. I just let it die. I was young and I didn't know what to do. I couldn't run to my family, but if I could've, I would've, and I would've nailed him for sexual harassment.

"I had to go to a psychologist and say this is what is going on here. I wanted to make sure. I thought I was losing my mind. Because he was following me under different looks. The psychologist says I was not talking crazy and I was probably talking accurate. I had said, commit me! He said no.

"[The voice coach] would drive by my house in his Porsche. He wanted to know who Honeybear was because I would always scream 'Honeybear!' Honeybear was my cat.

"He's mean to the kids. I know he's always wanted to be a rock 'n' roll star. He's trained the best. Barbra Streisand walked out on him because he was talking on the phone too long.

"When he left his wife, I called him. I'd had three drinks. I yelled at him for an hour. He took it too."

Luke: "Have you seen any rabbis as clients?"

Leah: "One who had a synagogue on Pico Blvd. He looked like Santa Claus. He answered my ad and came over. He was a very nice man. I introduced him to my friend and then he died.

"The three of us did a double. She would see him if I wasn't available. A couple of years later, I ask her, how's the rabbi? She said, he died. She probably gave him a heart attack.

"We had threesomes all the time. He felt uncomfortable wearing a yarmulke."

Luke: "Do you notice any differences between Jewish and Gentile clients?"

Leah: "More Jewish men are cheap. Jewish men are always trying to Jew you down.

"There was a cantor. A Holocaust survivor. A real dingleberry. She owned a storefront shul. She made me a vice-president. She recruited me to bring in men so they would join and give tzedakkah [charity]. We'd have shabbos with all these millionaire men I'd recruit in. I don't know what she did with the money. I don't think it went to the temple because it's no longer there.

"I saw her at Beth Jacob a couple of years ago. She's wearing this leopard-skin dress. She chased me around. Come sit in my car. I want you to hear what I made. I heard one song. I said, ok, great. I just wanted to get away from her."

Luke: "What do you love and hate about your job?"

Leah: "I love being a compassionate caregiver. I love that I'm able to give my special gift. I don't have guilt. I pay taxes. I'm doing an honor for these people who have bad marriages and people who don't have time to date. I give a good service. I'm a lot of fun.

"I have a closed practice. The only thing is seeing new people. It's nerve-racking. I screen well. I'm a doctor. I'm a therapist. A lot of it is talking. Companion more than sex.

"I highly recommend that you Jewish men marry a working girl. We are already trained. We will bring you home women. We will go to swing parties together. Men, God love you all, but most men are pigs. And the moment I learned that, I loved them even more. I said, now I get it.

"This rabbi-counselor. He's a psychologist. He said, four sessions is minimum. I said, how much? He said, don't worry about it. I said, I need to know. My money's tight. Don't worry about it. Come back next week.

"I come back next week. How much? He says don't worry about it. What do you do for a living? I say, I'm a Goddess of love. He says [shocked], don't tell anyone that.

"The third time I came, I asked, how much? He said, next week, bring your checkbook and we'll discuss it then.

"The fourth time I came, he said, did you bring your checkbook? He said, are you rich? I said, no. Not yet. I didn't want to shut that down. I'm very spiritual. He said, that'll be $400 (for four counseling sessions). I didn't think that was fair.

"I saw him in the pool swimming. I said to him, what you did to me was so unkosher that I've never forgotten. He apologized. Yeah, right.

"When I went to the High Holy Day services one day, he came all the way to where I was sitting and gave me a hug.

"I gave money to rabbis at Aish HaTorah and they won't speak to me again. About five years ago, I gave $500 to one rabbi. He said his family could eat. I work hard for my money. And he wouldn't talk to me after that.

"I feel that I have a gift from HaShem [God] that I am able to do this. I wanted to help. The wife was really nice to me. She's a beautiful person. She set me up to different Shabbos tables. She wanted me to get involved. I felt really comfortable at Aish HaTorah.

"I told this story to someone and they said that he knew it was dirty money."

Luke: "Did you go to Aish HaTorah much?"

Leah: "Yes. I almost became Orthodox [five years ago]. I was raised Conservative. My friends are involved. They're Orthodox now. I learned more than when I went to Stephen S. Wise. Reform [Judaism] is like treading water.

"I asked rabbi [shrink] and he didn't want to help, but they [Aish HaTorah] were just so patient. I learned so much. I liked going back 3,000 years. I liked washing your hands and saying the barucha [blessing]. I like the Saturday lunch. I like shutting things down. But as soon as they said, once you get married, you can't sing in public again, I had a problem with that.

"Ninety percent of the clients that see working girls are Jewish.

"I have friends at Aish HaTorah that I do Shabbos with. Do they know? They probably have an idea. Do they care? No. Because it doesn't take away who I am. I don't flaunt it."

Luke: "Has there been anyone who has refused to take your money because they regard it as dirty money?"

Leah: "What do you think? No. They become more friendly with me so they get more money."

Luke: "How many Orthodox clients do you have?"

Leah: "Before I moved to the Valley, a handful."

Luke: "Any differences between Orthodox clients and non-Orthodox?"

Leah: "They [Orthodox] don't shower enough.

"Bubbe, what do you want from me? I'm just a nice Jewish girl trying to get ahead. Will I meet somebody this way? Absolutely.

"If I get murdered after this interview, will you come to my funeral?"

Luke: "Yes."

Leah: "It's been nice talking to the LAPD. Shabbat shalom."

Leah writes later: "I can't wait until [Aish rabbi] reads my interview. The hell with the rabbis. All they have done to me is stock me and take dirty money from me and treat me like dirt. I still believe in Hashem. He is my man..."

Marlene Adler Marks writes 9/11/98:

Rabbi Norman Mirsky, whose idiosyncratic blend of sociology and theology was one of the great delights at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College, died suddenly last week and any tribute comes too late. At 61, oversized in both girth and wit (he once punned that a Hebrew tongue-twister could be called "a Jewish tornado"), he was never a household name (except among those who attended his beloved minyan at Temple Isaiah in West Los Angeles). His writings, notably a collection of musings and sermons titled "Life on the Wire," never got a wide circulation.

Yet, arguably, Mirsky's contribution to our understanding of contemporary American Jewish life -- that is, the Jewish life most of us live -- stands up to those whose scholarly contributions fill pages of bibliography. For Mirsky was among the first to comprehend that the real dynamism in Jewish life -- the untapped source of its strength -- was to be found along the "fringe," the people and ideas most likely to be cast as marginal Jews if not pariahs.

He was concerned with how Jewish religious texts and communal institutions treat women, gays, converts, alcoholics and addicts, and how they responded to those in need -- the ill and abused. In this, of course, he was the bearer of bad news that an upheaval was at hand, and many conventional thinkers resented him. For too long, Jewish life was in its own state of denial. You need only go back a decade to find evidence of Ozilla and Chana ("Ozzie and Harriet"), the limiting self-delusions we Jews proudly told each other: we had no alcoholics or gamblers, no wife-beaters or child molesters. Rabbi Mirsky's message was that these outsiders not only exist, they are us.

'On the 6'1' German model you call the Hun'

Will writes:

On the 6'1" German model you call the Hun, I must say this time Luke that you have actually upset me.

This woman appears to be fairly attractive, you seemed to have a decent time with her, you stupidly feel the whole emotional bonding thing will get you into a state where humping becomes impossible because your also-unmarried friend Cathy says so, and you abusively refer to this woman as the Hun instead of using her name.

I wonder sometimes when I read what you write about women if you actually want to be involved in a relationship or if you just fancy yourself a player? Every date seems to come down to the point where you either get on or you don't -- and if you get on she is a hoe and if you don't it is a messed up psychological issue that you go on about. In my mind, reasonable relationships always put the bonding before the sex so a person knows who they are sleeping with. Believing that you cannot have a relationship with someone you bond with before screwing is rather juvenille.

If this lovely young lady opened up to you it is probably because she saw you as a person she could trust. I would suggest you go out a few more times and build on that.

Yisroel writes:

Dear Mr. Ford,

Will wrote that you upset him by "abusively" referring to the 6'1", 26-year-old German model as "the Hun" instead of using her name. In view of her attractive looks, may I offer a suggestion that will protect her identity (assuming she wants it protected) while avoiding the perceived insult: Why not call her the Hon' instead? Wouldn't that solve the problem?

Tamar Ross's Drivel

Yisroel writes:

I was glad to see your criticism of Tamar Ross's "drivel," as you so accurately label it. She strikes me as essentially a reconstructionist feminist posturing as an Orthodox Jewess.

I recently attended a conference in San Francisco sponsored by the modern Orthodox group Edah at which Ross, whom I previously had not heard of, delivered her paper "Can Traditional Jewish Theology Sustain the Feminist Critique?" which you refer to in your column at lukeford.net. I was astonished that her remarks elicited virtually no criticism and were politely received by the audience, even though I felt her entire message was an assault on the validity of the Torah. I don't understand why she would be given a forum in supposedly Orthodox circles.

Natural Genius

From The Economist:

The high intelligence of Ashkenazi Jews may be a result of their persecuted past THE idea that some ethnic groups may, on average, be more intelligent than others is one of those hypotheses that dare not speak its name. But Gregory Cochran, a noted scientific iconoclast, is prepared to say it anyway.

He is that rare bird, a scientist who works independently of any institution. He helped popularise the idea that some diseases not previously thought to have a bacterial cause were actually infections, which ruffled many scientific feathers when it was first suggested. And more controversially still, he has suggested that homosexuality is caused by an infection.

Even he, however, might tremble at the thought of what he is about to do. Together with Jason Hardy and Henry Harpending, of the University of Utah, he is publishing, in a forthcoming edition of the JOURNAL OF BIOSOCIAL SCIENCE, a paper which not only suggests that one group of humanity is more intelligent than the others, but explains the process that has brought this about.

The group in question are Ashkenazi Jews. The process is natural selection.

Ashkenazim generally do well in IQ tests, scoring 12-15 points above the mean value of 100, and have contributed disproportionately to the intellectual and cultural life of the West, as the careers of Freud, Einstein and Mahler, pictured above, affirm. They also suffer more often than most people from a number of nasty genetic diseases, such as Tay-Sachs and breast cancer.

These facts, however, have previously been thought unrelated. The former has been put down to social effects, such as a strong tradition of valuing education. The latter was seen as a consequence of genetic isolation. Even now, Ashkenazim tend to marry among themselves. In the past they did so almost exclusively. Dr Cochran, however, suspects that the intelligence and the diseases are intimately linked. His argument is that the unusual history of the Ashkenazim has subjected them to unique evolutionary pressures that have resulted in this paradoxical state of affairs.

Chaim Amalek writes: "The fruits of modern science continue to undercut the ideological basis of the modern liberal state. If this research points the way to the truth and we are to have such a state, then the gene pools of every group on the planet must be aggregated to create one raceless, featureless swarm of humanity, Jews included. Of course, that simply isn't going to happen, no matter how much propaganda is directed towards that end."

And Now A Few Words About Jewish Theology

Cathy Seipp writes: "Also, whenever you see Luke interviewed on 60 Minutes and other TV shows, it's always because they're doing a segment on Jewish theology."

The Humble Arab Vagina is a Force to be Reckoned With

Chaim Amalek writes:

The most powerful weapon left to the Palestinians is the Palestinian womb. Ignoring the Arab population on the so-called "west bank" and Gaza, there remains within Israel an Arab population that currently makes up fully 20% of her population, and it is growing at an awesome rate. The extrapolations I've seen indicate that within fifty years (at about the time that France goes Muslim), Israel will be majority Arab and Muslim. If she remains a democracy at that time, it will be a simple matter for her Arab majority to vote the Jewish character out of existence and to reunite with their Arab brethren in Palestine to make, well, Palestine. That's the central threat that Israel faces - not suicide bombers, but Israeli Arab men fornicating with Israeli Arab women to make still more Arabs. Remember what I've long said in criticism of the secular Jewess: Jewish women use their vaginas as playthings; Palestinian women use theirs as cannon.

The humble Arab vagina may yet conquer both Western Europe and Israel.

....

Most of this obsession with encouraging endogamy comes from the rabbinate, not the great leaders of the Jewish past. As the Torah itself makes clear, historically great jewish men have taken shiksas (or converts) as their wives. But the rabbinate saw that as a threat to their power, so they came up with the current system, which keeps out almost all new blood.

Luke, I task thee with the impregnation of your new Aryan honey, and the care for her at least until the fetus is born and can stand on its own. Also, let us not have any more talk of you "dating" or trying to date older Jewish women; sex with such females is functionally equivalent to masterbation, in that neither is likely to result in the creation of a new white or Jewish child.

Khunrum writes: "A good reason for Luke, Fred, Master W. and yes, you too my dear Amalek to find mates and add your offspring to the Hebrew mix. Find a good hardworking Yiddish chick (that would be the foreign variety....no "peppies"). A gal like mine who is outside in the Houston heat this very moment, cleaning out my garage while I twiddle the hours away chatting on the computer. Let's go lads....get with it. Now is the hour."

Fred writes: "Rum, if we did away with those circumcision rules, and the stuff about no pork and lobster, would you have any interest in joining?"

Khunrum replies:

First counselor let me thank you for you kind offer to join "the tribe." Circumcision would not be an issue since my "turtleneck sweater" as it were, was removed years ago when I was just a babe in my mother's arms.

However, since my new bride is a Buddhist, I too have decided to adopt this rather soft core religion as my own. We even visited the Thai Buddhist Temple this past weekend for a look see. The head Monk, a kindly old gentleman, sprinkled holy water on our heads whilst babbling on in a language I did not understand. After, I stuck a few notes in the collection till and we were on your way. Not too demanding. Perfect.

Jeff Wald's Lawsuit Threat

Law Offices of Barry Silver
1875 Century Park East, Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90067

May 31, 2005

Publisher of Lukeford.net

Re: Jeff Wald
Articles republished as of December 2004
Demand for Publication of Correction of Defamation

Dear Publisher of lukeford.net:

Commencing sometime in December 2004, lukeford.net both published and republished defamatory materials concerning the character of my client, Jeff Wald. The articles not only caused injury to my client's dignitary interests but because of their inherently racist quality and style are uniquely offensive to anybody with any appreciation of the significance of the First Amendment.

Demand is hereby made, pursuant to Civil Code 48a, that you immediately publish a correction of those articles in substantially conspicuous a manner as were the articles themselves published, in a regularly daily rendering of lukeford.net. My calculation is that we are a looking at a minimum of 6 months of corrective materials to satisfy Civil Code 48a. Should such retraction not commence within 7 days from the date hereof, Mr. Wald will be left with not alternative but to seek redress in the court.

Finally, please be aware that the instance Letter/Notice is being served upon you within twenty days after discovery and knowledge of the aforedescribed defamatory and obscene materials all constituting conduct on the part of your entity.

This is nuts. There's a one-year statute of limitation from the initial date of publication for filing a libel claim. I had my profile on Jeff up in 2002. Here's the January 25, 2003 web.archive.org archive of my Jeff Wald profile. Sorry guys, but you are two years too late.

Chayyei Sarah Learns To Love Herself

A man's greatest fear is that he is not competent. A woman's -- that she is not worthy of love.

Luke Helps Blonde 6'1 German Model Expiate Holocaust Guilt Through Reading Feminist Dr. Tamar Ross

Our teacher was too carried about by the power of Dr. Ross's material to focus the camera. But here the Hun, 26, and I, 39, are enjoying one of the many witty sections of the professor's book. These particular smiles come from Dr. Ross's disection of "essentialist piffle."

We spent a few hours at a dive bar learning about how male bias pervades the Torah.

Then our initially promising date veered disastrously off course when we skipped directly to intense emotional bonding, tragically bypassing the physical intimacy that usually precedes it.

"It's not what you think—unfortunately," I told my friends at minyan Wednesday morning when they watched me send the Hun off with a long, tight goodbye hug and an affectionate kiss on the forehead. "The date was going great—I could feel us getting closer and closer all night. I was totally psyched when she came home with me. But somehow I screwed up, and we ended up sharing our most personal thoughts and feelings without even making out first."

At 12:30 a.m., as we walked to my hovel, our conversation grew more personal. I talked about my last girlfriend, and Hun discussed her financial problems.

I opened a bottle of soy milk, and we sat talking and drinking in the living room for an hour before relocating to the bedroom.

The bedroom, or rather that place on the floor where I sleep, is where we started to open up about everything.

Two and a half hours later, the couple was firmly in the area that Cathy Seipp described as "that awful horse latitude of male-female relations, the Sargasso Sea of non-sexual pair-bonding known to unhappy males the world over as 'the friend zone.'"

"My heart really goes out to this poor kid," Seipp said. "We've all been there, thinking, 'Gee, this is really special that you're opening up to me about your childhood, but I've got to admit I'd rather be going down on you right now.' Unfortunately, once the emotional barrier has been crossed, there's no going back. By allowing the conversation to swerve into serious-talking territory before physical contact was established, Luke virtually guaranteed that he would not get into the Hun's pants."

Fred writes Luke: "Remind me again why you constantly go after frumpy 40 year old women who are into rich guys?"

Chaim Amalek writes:

1. Are your SURE that she's a she and not a he? You should ask, if this sort of thing is important to you. (The operations are very well done these days.)

2. Every kiss with a shiksa (and a German shiksa at that) spells further doom to the Jewess who, perhaps because of her metabolism, perhaps because of her scent or accent or "look," is without a man and who dreams of being coupled with a Jewish man and raising Jewish children.

Khunrum writes: "Actually it might be good to mate Luke with a six foot plus Hun Bruiser. Her King Kong "master race" genes mixed with Luke's sickly, wimp cells might produce a normal kid."

Jackie writes: "First you stop wearing your yarmulke, now this..."

Fred writes: "In the interest of improving the gene pool, mating a nerdy, chubby patent lawyer with the hun bruiser would also likely lead to normal kids. Luke, ask this woman to consider it."

David writes: "Dude, she’s hot! Smack the taste of your peanut gallery’s mouth and pucker up!"

I just don't think it would be holy. Our friendship is much more of the mind than of the body.

I have a liberal Orthodox friend who's a feminist. He lent me Dr. Ross's book because he found it unreadable.

Becoming Orgasmic -- A Chat With the Director of the Kinsey Institute

As part of its "Brilliant Peoples" series, Science Blog commissioned author and journalist Luke Ford to interview Dr. Julia R. Heiman, author of Becoming Orgasmic: A Sexual and Personal Growth Program for Women and the sixth director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, Bloomington. Below is a transcript of their wide-ranging discussion, which touches on subjects from the sexuality of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegone characters to why we still don't understand prison rape.

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